The good, the bad & the ugly: Stylish Saints, lowly Leeds, Edwards shambles

Drew Darbyshire

It’s been another big week for rugby league.

The good

Let’s start the week on a positive note. Just how good have St Helens been in 2019? They play brilliant rugby league and are just a delight to watch.

Justin Holbrook has been scintillating since he arrived at St Helens and he has been a fine success story for Super League as well. He arrived at St Helens midway through the 2017 and has an incredible win percentage of 78%.

I wasn’t stunned seeing St Helens beat Castleford Tigers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Friday night, but it was a shock to see the scoreline being 42-12 as the full-time hooter sounded.

The most dangerous thing about Saints this year is that they have no weaknesses at all. You know you’ve got a good team when the likes of Danny Richardson, Kyle Amor, Luke Douglas and Matty Costello aren’t getting in the team. They’ve got to clinch the Challenge Cup or Grand Final this year, haven’t they?

The bad

Leeds Rhinos just don’t have any luck at all in 2019. They slumped to another defeat on Saturday as they lost 26-22 against Catalans Dragons in Perpignan.

It sounds crazy when I say this because they’ve won just one game out of eight so far, but they don’t actually seem a million miles away. Three of their defeats have been by five points or fewer.

The Rhinos are trying too hard to grind out a victory at times. Some members of the press, along with fans, had predicted Leeds to win the Super League Grand Final prior to a ball being kicked this year but if they don’t clean up their act very soon, they won’t even make the top five.

Leeds sit rock bottom of the league table, with just two points to their name. They are already six points behind Salford Red Devils, Hull FC and Catalans who are joint fourth, with the latter two having a game in hand on the Rhinos as well.

It’s been a dire start to Dave Furner’s coaching career at the Rhinos and with frustration kicking in, their next win is very much needed.

The ugly

It looks increasingly unlikely that Shaun Edwards will be Wigan Warriors head coach next season, and the whole saga has become embarrassing for the club and for rugby league.

Wigan announced last August that Edwards would become the club’s head coach in 2020 after he finished his duties with Wales after the Rugby Union World Cup in 2019.

However, Edwards has since stated that he had not signed a contract with the Warriors and would consider offers from all areas.

The current situation is a mockery of the highest order. Edwards has been doing interviews with various publications over the last couple of weeks.

Asked about a potential move to take over as England Rugby Union’s coach after the World Cup, Edwards told the Sunday Times: “Unless you get an offer from someone it is all just hypothetical isn’t it? But it’s true Twickenham is just down the road, much closer than Wales. I could get the Tube there.”

It’s a farce and let this be a lesson for all sporting clubs going forward. More is needed than just a gentleman’s agreement these days. The sooner the situation is sorted (whichever way that may be), the better.